Credit: Elke Wetzig Copyright: CC BY-SA 4.0

French poll: Majority support generals’ warning that “civil war” is close

Over 1,000 military personnel, including 20 retired generals, had signed a letter warning French president Emmanuel Macron that the country was headed towards “civil war”.

A Harris Interactive poll of French citizens has found 58 per cent of respondents support a controversial warning issued by a group of active and retired military personnel that the country is close to “civil war” due to Islamic fundamentalism.

The servicemen and women who signed the April 21 letter were roundly condemned by the French government for issuing the stark warning, but the poll of 1,613 people, conducted for French broadcaster LCI, shows a clear majority of the public support the initiative.

Those surveyed were divided on whether the army should intervene however, with only 49 per cent backing the signatories’ suggestion that the military should restore order without the permission of the government.

The letter claims that “fanatic partisans” and “anti-racists” have allowed Islamist elements to control parts of the “banlieue” suburbs where many immigrants tend to live.

“The hour is grave, France is in peril”, they claim.

“It is no longer the time to procrastinate, otherwise tomorrow civil war will put an end to this growing chaos and deaths – for which you will be responsible – with numbers in the thousands,” the letter concludes.

84 per cent of people surveyed said violence was increasing, 74 per cent claimed the “anti-racism” movement was damaging relations between groups, whilst 73 per cent said France was disintegrating.

One in three people surveyed agreed with Minister for Defence Florence Parly that the signatories of the letter should be punished.

“Two immutable principles guide the action of members of the military with regard to politics: neutrality and loyalty,” Parly said.

“For you who have violated the duty of reserve, sanctions are planned, and if there are active soldiers among the signatories, I asked the chief of staff of the armed forces to apply the rules, that is to say, sanctions,” she insisted.

The military letter also criticises how the “gilets jaunes” yellow vest protestors were treated by authorities in France, claiming the government used police “as proxy agents and scapegoats” during the demonstrations.

The letter was published 60 years after military generals staged a failed putsch against French president and general Charles de Gaulle, seizing control of Algiers in an attempt to stop the French withdrawal from Algeria.

Marine le Pen’s National Rally party (formerly National Front) have supported the signatories who signed the letter, inviting them to “join our action to take part in the battle which opens”.

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